My view: Gender identity may change how marriage works

By Gayle Ruzicka

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 6 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

For the last several years, Democratic legislators in Utah have filed an anti-discrimination bill that has always been “dead-on-arrival."

In 2013, for the first time ever, the anti-discrimination bill, SB 262, was sponsored by a Republican, Utah state Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-Washington. Also, two Republican senators, both in leadership positions, voted for the bill, thus allowing the bill to pass out of committee.

SB 262 adds to the existing list of classifications that are protected against discrimination in housing and employment:

Sexual orientation — defined as an individual’s actual or perceived orientation as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.

Gender identity — defined as an individual’s internal sense of gender, without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth. That means you are the gender that you think you are.

The bill says it is discriminatory and prohibited employment practice to deny an employee access to restrooms, shower facilities or dressing facilities that are consistent with the employee’s gender identity.

What does this mean? Employers under this anti-discrimination law will have to allow men or women to shower, etc., with people of the opposite sex who self-identify as that sex. That means a man who thinks he is really a woman can now use the women’s restrooms, dressing rooms or take showers with the women with all of his man body parts showing. If he seems to be confused, I’m sure the women in the shower will not have any trouble identifying his gender.

I thought when the senators saw the bathroom/shower language they would never vote for this law. I was told they just wanted to show compassion for the LGBT community. How about compassion for the employees who don’t want to shower or use bathrooms with someone of the opposite sex? Are their fundamental rights subservient to the special rights being demanded by the LGBT community? Where do we draw the line?

It gets even worse. In states that have passed anti-discrimination laws, the gender identity rules have now spread to the schools. Are the parents in Utah going to tolerate boys and girls showering together after PE classes or using the same bathrooms?

In Colorado, a 6-year-old boy self-identifies as a girl and after a lawsuit, the school has to allow him to use the girls’ bathroom.

In Maine, a 15-year-old boy who decided he’s a girl has sued to be allowed to use the girls’ facilities. He was using the teachers’ lounge but argues that it discriminates against him not to be able to use the girls’ bathrooms. What about girls who do not want to use the bathroom with boys?

Massachusetts allows students to choose their bathroom. The Department of Education said, “the discomfort other students could feel about sharing traditionally sex-segregated bathrooms or locker rooms with a transgender student is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student.” Their reason: transgender students are more likely to be bullied.

California actually passed a law, signed by the governor, allowing students in all grades to choose which bathrooms, dressing rooms or showers they will use, as well as on which sports teams they will play.

In Utah, American Fork High School included anti-discrimination language in its Gay-Straight Alliance club policy.

If Utah should ever recognize “gender identity” in the code as an acceptable definition of gender — “you are who you say you are” — then what will stop two same-sex people from marrying? Two women apply for a marriage license, one says, “I am a woman” the other woman says, “I self-identify as a man.” Under this law, is this a marriage between a man and a woman?

Gayle Ruzicka is a conservative political activist, talk radio host and leader in the Utah Eagle Forum.

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